Since the first websites were created some 25 years ago, the Federal Communications Commission has maintained a long standing, hands-off approach for the Internet. On June 17th, that may come to an end when the FCC begins consideration of Chairman Genachowski’s plan to reclassify broadband Internet as a Title II telephone service. This will give the FCC substantial regulatory authority over the Internet. In a week, the FCC plans to open up to public comment the legality of their reclassification plan for broadband.
At this open hearing, the following questions are expected be announced regarding broadband:
- Whether the Commission can overturn longstanding precedent that the Internet is an “information service” in order to support the Commission’s new found ambitions;
- The legal and practical consequences of classifying broadband Internet connectivity as a Title II service, an outdated regulation designed for 1930s telephone service; and
- A possible “third way” under which the Commission would retain partial control over the internet, while merely promising not to apply a smorgasbord of regulations.
Previous ATR blog posts explaining why reclassification of broadband is detrimental can be found here, here, and here. There is already public outcry and bipartisan opposition against net neutrality and broadband reclassification on both the national and state levels. June 17th will begin the public’s chance to denounce the FCC’s plan and put an end to Genachowski’s ploy to control the internet.